Demystifying classical dance
By Shruthi Menon | ENS
19th July 2012 08:54 AM
An invitation to a dance performance, especially classical can make anyone’s eyes glaze over. There aren’t many who appreciate classical dance, much less understand it. While the many forms of western dance are easy to the eye, classical dances with its rich history, intricate movements and unravelling story behind each piece has remained mystical to a non performer. ‘Appreciating Indian Classical Dance’ is a workshop organised by Antara, a dance collective and Laya School of Dance, to ‘demystify classical dance’ and introduce dance as a way of life.
The tradition of dancing is as old as civilisation in our culture-rich nation, that has a spectrum of different dance forms from every state and region. Poornima Kaushik, Aparna Banerjee and Shalini Garg attempt to give a taste of this ancient tradition with a two-day workshop held at Atta Galatta.
With the rapid westernisation of culture, people seem to be straying towards western forms of dance and it is to bring them back to their roots is the idea behind the workshop; to remove the ‘apprehension’ people feel about classical dance. “Classical dance today is contemporary too. It is not the age-old temple tradition of dance, but has evolved in the 50-60 years after independence. It is as contemporary as today’s politics,” says Aparna Banerjee.
The workshop does not just introduce the ubiquitous Bharatnatyam of South India, but also Kathak and Odissi. Aparna Banerjee, who has been dancing from the age of seven founded ‘The Antara Artists Collective’ and is an Odissi dancer; Poornima Kaushik is an exponent of Bharatnatyam and has been dancing for the last fifteen years with over a 100 performances to her credit, she conducts dance classes at the Laya School of Dance in Bangalore; Shalini Garg is a Kathak dancer and holds an MA in dance along with a Diploma in choreography and currently teaches Kathak at Antara.
The workshop includes brief sessions of each dance form along with interactive sessions that include showing videos of various dance forms and interacting with the children, to give them a better idea of what classical dance truly means. “Dance is a big rainbow of an art of movements,” as Aparna says and it is understanding that dance is inevitably inherent in every person is explained through the workshop. With every jump of joy, shrug of shoulders, twitch of a smile and rage filled eyes we dance, and using these movements and expressions, bringing them together to express and emote helps appreciating dance in its classical Indian form, which is the idea behind the workshop.
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